Blessed Event coming to Century and 1871 Pollard Circus
ASHS Column for 10 19 06
Margaret Collier

ANNOUNCEMENT: We are expecting!!! You know how much preparation goes into preparing for a blessed event, but that is nothing to what the Society is busy with in getting ready for the arrival of a 49-ton baby after a 3-year gestation period. Yes, if you drive by the James Houston Jones Historical Park and look carefully behind the Boxcar Museum, you will see where the new arrival will be housed. Thanks to the Town of Century, the Local Option Sales Tax and Escambia County, the foundation has been laid for the homecoming of Old 100. If that isn't exciting, I don't know what is!

Your next question is, "When?" We can not tell you a date yet (you know how it is when you are expecting) because there is still a lot of preparation to be done, but we'll keep you informed through the Ledger and word-of-mouth. The #100 Committee is handling the details and will be happy to make note of your contributions of time, expertise, materials, and/materials to this monumental task. Stay tuned.

This month one of our Charter members celebrated her ninetieth birthday. We congratulate Margherita Jones on reaching this stage of life and especially for making it a special quality of life. She has been one of our staunchest supporters through the years, so along with kudos, we give her our love and admiration.

Now is the time to bring another few paragraphs of The Winding River Road to your attention.


A few years prior to the Civil War and for ten years thereafter when Pollard, Alabama was a thriving town and a trade center for a large area, circuses would come there almost every year. On such occasions it was not uncommon for two or more big freight wagons loaded with from fifteen to twenty people, usually young folks with an elderly person or two in each wagon as chaperons, to travel this Winding River Road while singing, "Everybody on a joy ride to see the CIRCUS." One of the highlights of these circus trips was the fun of camping out one or two nights on the trip.

Many people who made one or more of these circus trips have discussed them in my presence. Each told the same fascinating experiences with enthusiasm. Aunt Mary Ann Nelson relates interesting experiences of her trip in the big freight wagon to Pollard to see the circus.

This trip was made in 1871. The party left the Diamond residence about noon. A few stops were made in picking up members of the party. The party camped the first night at the Gaylor old home place. This was many years after the tragic death of the Gaylor twin brothers. The house was in a dilapidated state at the time; however, it was occupied by an old couple who were living there in a sort of camp fashion.

The circus party went in and looked at the blood of the twin brothers still plainly visible on the floor of the room in which they cut each other to pieces. The next day, after the show was over the party got back across the river on the Pollard ferry just before night and camped at the Fortner Branch just across the state line in Florida. The trip furnished far more pleasure and fascinating fun than if it had been made in a new Ford or a modern Cadillac.

These same big freight wagons often carried loads of people up and down portions of this same Winding River Road to the old Coon Hill Baptist Mission Station down on the Diamond Mill Creek to hear an itinerant missionary explain the Gospel of Salvation in language and illustrations readily understood by pioneer people.

These same big wagons often carried loads of people up and down portions of this same road to the Methodist Mission Station up on the McCaskill Mill Creek to hear a Methodist Missionary preach the plain Gospel in simple language to plain pioneer people who "Heard him gladly."

There were many byways and side roads leading into and branching out from this historic road or merely crossed it. Almost all of these byways and side roads had been beaten out by the Indians long before the coming of the white men to the area. Truly these side roads were an important part of the system once used by the red men of the forest, now partially modernized by the logging men. They mutely but strongly revealed some interesting history connected with the road and area.

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This page last modified on Monday, October 30, 2006